The Flxible Corporation
From a publication released in1984 by the Flxible Corporation
The Flxible Company, not unlike many other companys had a modest, but unique beginning... In 1912, Hugo H. Young (founder and former president of the Flxible Co.), while operating a motorcycle sales agency in Mansfield Ohio. had a idea for a new type of motorcycle sidecar; one which would permit the third wheel to tilt and stay on the ground when the motorcycle leaned while going around curves either to the left or right. The sidecar was attached to the motorcycle with a "flexible" connection. This was a new and basic idea. It also allowed the sidecar wheel to rise over obstructions, or to drop below the road level without affecting the motorcycle's balance. The axle pivot of the sidecar wheel was slightly tilted which caused the sidecar wheel to always follow the direction of the motorcycle, whether rounding turns or on a straight course.
Young built a prototype sidecar for his own use. A traveling salesman friend saw the newly designed sidecar and realizing its great possibilities, urged him to patent and manufacture the sidecar. Young's patent was the fore-runner of the principle which is now known as knee-action in automobiles.
In 1913, Young founded the Flxible Side Car Company in Loudonville, Ohio to manufacture his patented vehicle. This original company was a partnership owned by Hugo Young and Carl F. Dudte. In 1914 they incorporated the Flexible Sidecar Co. for $25,000.
Young's sidecar went over in a big way. It was such an improvement over the other sidecars that it soon became the favorite of most motorcyclists. This was especially true for the riders in the dangerous sport of motorcycle sidecar racing. Soon all important sidecar racing records were held by race drivers whose cycles were equipped with Flexible Sidecars.
In 1916, the company built its own factory. In July of 1919 the directors decided to change the name from the Flexible Sidecar Co. to The Flxible Co., and increased capitalization to $500,000. It was then the name Flxible without the first E was copyrighted and that spelling has been exclusive to Flxible ever since. By 1919 the company had gained the distinction of being the worlds largest exclusive manufacturer of motorcycle sidecars.
1920s Photo courtesy of Ken Utterback (168), Loudonville, OH
During WW1, Flxible produced its unique sidecars for the Allied Armies. They were attached to an Excelsior motorcycle, carried a mounted machine gun and were used very effectively overseas.
FORD KILLS THE MOTORCYCLE MARKET
In the early 1920s the sidecar market suddenly disappeared when Henry Ford established the price for a Ford Roadster at $360.00 less than the cost of a motorcycle and sidecar. The Flxible Co. was forced to find seek new fields, thus the entry into the bus, funeral car and ambulance markets.
The first Flxible bus, a Studebaker 12 passenger sedan, was delivered to E.L. Harter in 1924, who operated a line from Ashland to Mt. Vernon, Ohio. The first Flxible performed so well, that Harter decided to buy a second one in April, 1925. This second coach established an unviable record of long life and dependability. For three years it was used in regular service and accumulated a total of over 275,000 miles. It was traded in on another coach in 1928 and that same year set the new record for the trip from New york to Los Angeles in four days, nine hours and forty one minutes.
1926 /27 Flxible/Buick owned by Clyde and Virginia Johnson of Port Allegheny, Pennsylvania.
NEXT PAGE | FOI HOME